In the 90-minute keynote above, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini starts section starts at 22min 45secs, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max at 48min 15secs.
Insiders at Vodafone NZ and Spark have both said one event will push 5G into the mainstream more than any other: the release of the first 5G iPhone.
Now, that's happened, with Apple confirming 5G support for four new models.
The iPhone 12 offers a different look from last year's models, moving from rounded edges to a flatter look that harks back to the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5.
In a break with tradition, earbuds and a wall charger are no longer included in the box. A Lightning cable remains, though is now Lightning to USB-C rather than USB-A. Apple cited environmental concern for the change.
On the flipside, Apple has introdued options: the MagSafe Charger for charging one device at a time (available for $69 from this Friday) and the MagSafe Charger Duo for charging two at a time, including a flip-up spot to charge your Apple Watch (which has no release time at this point). Apple boosted its wireless charging efforts by buying Auckland startup PowerbyProxi (now valued at $270m).
The new iPhone 12 (from $1499) and iPhone 12 mini (from $1349), and the new iPhone Max ($1899) and iPhone Max Pro ($2099) - all previewed at an Apple event in the US this morning NZT all support 5G.
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro will be available for NZ order from October 17, with availability from October 23.
The mini and iPhone Pro Max will be available from November 7 with full availability from November 13.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook went to some length to sell the Apple faithful on the faster, more capable mobile technology.
"Today is the beginning of a new era for iPhone," he said.
5G offered improved downloads and uploads, higher-quality video streaming, better gaming and less network congestion, Cook said.
So far, 5G handsets in NZ have been relatively scarce. Vodafone and Spark offer 5G-capable models from Samsung, Huawei and Oppo, but Samsung decided to release the 4G only version of its new Galaxy 20FE ($1099), not the "international 5G" version, saying the extra cost of 5G would have added several hundred dollars to the cost.
Only US models of the new iPhones get support for "millimeter band" 5G - the fastest flavour of the new mobile technology, but mm band spectrum is not due to be auctioned in New Zealand until the end of 2022.
Largest screen iPhone yet, 5x optical zoom
The iPhone Max's 6.7-inch screen is the biggest on an iPhone yet. The iPhone 12 Pro Max has three back cameras that offer a 5X optical zoom, a LiDAR sensor/scanner for improved augmented reality apps and faster autofocus, and a stainless steel outer band.
The mini, with is thumbable, edge-to-edge 5.4-inch screen is billed as the world's thinnest and lightest 5G phone.
All of the new models are water and dust resistant, and feature Apple's new "Ceramic Shield", which Apple claims is "tougher than any smartphone glass ... with nano-ceramic crystals to dramatically improve toughness and increase drop performance by 4x".
All of the new models also feature Apple's A14 Bionic chip, which has the grunt to support more workload-intensive gaming and photography features (see full tech specs here).
Pushing 5G toward the mainstream
Vodafone launched NZ's first 5G mobile service in parts of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown in December last year, and has since been filling out coverage in those areas.
Spark launched its first 5G mobile service in Palmerston North in July, and says its first Auckland service will go live this month. Initial coverage, in parts of the Auckland CBD, went live today to coincide with Apple's launch. Other - as yet un-named - centres will get 5G by Christmas, the telco says.
With its 4G partner Huawei sidelined by the GCSB, Spark has turned to Nokia Networks and Samsung to fill the breach on the edge of its network, while incumbents Cisco and Ericsson will continue to manage the core.
2degrees - an almost all-Huawei shop, at this point - has yet to set a timetable for its 5G upgrade.
The exact performance of 5G, like any mobile technology, depends on your proximity to the nearest cell site.
But the mobile technology supports fibre-like speeds, many more devices connected simultaneously, almost none of the latency (lag) associated with data-intensive two-way connections with early mobile technologies and lots of network smarts that help manage the "internet of things" or the growing universe of smart devices connected to the internet.
In the months and years ahead, Spark and Vodafone are expected to position fixed-wireless 5G - where a mobile network is used as a landline substitute for a single home or business - as an alternative to Chorus UFB fibre.
The Telecommunications Forum recently launched a site that addresses various bogus conspiracy theories about 5G. It joined similar efforts by the Prime Minister's chief science advisor and other experts.
A wave of arson attacks on 5G cellphone towers earlier this year subsided following two arrests.